Bernard’s case turned a excessive-profile clemency marketing campaign that advocates say highlights main points within the justice system. The circumstances had been among the many final that had been shortly scheduled by the Trump administration. Bernard and Bourgeois had been two of 4 Black men scheduled to die by deadly injection through the Trump administration’s closing days within the workplace.
Bourgeois was the tenth individual to be executed since Lawyer Basic William Barr introduced in July 2019 the revival of capital punishment for federal demise row inmates — a choice that has been fraught with controversy.
The Division of Justice has defended its resolution.
“The Division meant to resume executions in December 2019, nonetheless due to litigation, the method was suspended,” a division spokeswoman instructed CNN Friday evening. “As soon as the Supreme Courtroom dominated in favor of resuming executions, the Division has proceeded every month — excluding October — since July 2020.”
Christopher Vailva, who was Black, was executed in September.
tweeted, “Brandon Bernard ought to be alive in the present day. We should finish all federal executions and abolish the demise penalty. In a world of unimaginable violence, the state shouldn’t be concerned in premeditated homicide.”
Bernard was considered one of 5 gang members convicted in Texas of killing Stacie and Todd Bagley — who had been youth ministers — in 1999.
Though Bernard apologized for his position within the crime before he died on Thursday evening, it wasn’t till 2018, when his authorized crew realized that the trial prosecutor withheld data from the protection. The alleged violation was the idea of Bernard’s appeals and altered the minds of 5 out of the 9 residing jurors who sentenced him to demise, in accordance to courtroom paperwork.
“A case like Brandon Bernard’s reveals that our prison authorized system usually prioritizes finality over equity, even when there are deeply troubling authorized points that have by no means been addressed by the courts and regardless of widespread requires clemency,” Kristin Houle Cuellar, government director of Texas Coalition to Abolish the Demise Penalty, instructed CNN on Friday.
Texas has constantly lead the nation with probably the most executions and has performed 570 since 1976.
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Of the 210 Texas demise row inmates in Texas: 93 are Black, 57 are White, 54 are Hispanic and 6 establish as different,
according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Case attracted nationwide consideration
Bernard, 40, was the youngest individual in the US in almost 70 years to be executed by the federal authorities for a criminal offense dedicated when he was a teen. He was additionally the ninth of 13 federal demise row inmates Barr requested the Bureau of Prisons to schedule to die before Inauguration Day — January 20.
“Brandon’s execution is a stain on America’s prison justice system. However I pray that even in his demise, Brandon will advance his dedication to serving to others by transferring us nearer to a time when this nation doesn’t pointlessly and maliciously kill younger Black men who pose no risk to anybody,” his lawyer, Robert C. Owen, stated.
An eleventh-hour try by Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr — excessive-powered protection attorneys who additionally represented Trump — to be part of Bernard’s authorized protection, delayed the proceedings for 3 hours, however didn’t sway the Supreme Courtroom to grant a request to delay the execution for two weeks.
Death Penalty Information Center report launched in September. The report examined the historic context of how capital punishment has been a instrument for authority over Black folks.
There are at present 53 folks on federal demise row: 23 Black men, 21 White men, seven Latino men, one Asian man and one White girl, in accordance to the Demise Penalty Info Middle.
Since 1973, there have been 172 men and ladies who had been sentenced to demise and later discovered to be wrongfully convicted, in accordance to the Demise Penalty Info Middle. Of these exonerees are 89 Black men, 63 White men, 15 Latino men, one Native American man, two different men of one other race in addition to one Black girl and one White girl.
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to abolish the federal demise penalty and can give incentives to states to steer them away from looking for demise sentences. Whereas no federal demise row inmate has been wrongfully convicted, Biden’s initiative towards the demise penalty is due partly to the quantity of wrongfully convicted individuals who have been given the sentence, stated Robert Dunham, government director of the Demise Penalty Info Middle.
Till Biden’s swearing in, there are three more federal demise row inmates pending execution. They are two Black men, Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs, and Lisa Montgomery, who’s the one girl scheduled to be executed by the US authorities in almost 70 years.
With Bourgeois’ execution, Trump is now tied with President Ulysses S. Grant (1873-1876) for the fourth most federal executions in a single 12 months, in accordance to the Demise Penalty Info Middle.
Bourgeois, 56, was sentenced to demise in 2004 for torturing and killing his 2-12 months-outdated daughter in Texas.
anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean
tweeted, “The SCOTUS voted to enable the federal authorities to execute Alfred Bourgeois even supposing he’s intellectually disabled with an IQ measured between 70-75.”
The Appeal calling for assist for Bernard. “For Donald Trump … the willful criminality to enable a pandemic to rage uncontrolled that has disproportionately impacted probably the most marginalized and now the cruelty that we first got here to know of him in calling for lynching of … younger Black men. Demise and cruelty will likely be his legacy.”